Today, a deranged young man in full battle kit shot and killed several innocent people in a movie theater. Commentators tried vainly to provide “answers” but, of course, there are none. Our leaders, sensibly, didn’t offer any. Jeremiah blames society.
Try this simple thought experiment. Imagine packing up your game console, with your favorite “first person shooter,” and travelling back in time to 1950. Think of American families you have seen on monochrome TV, like the Cleavers, or Ozzie and Harriet. Show them how you play your game. They are not pleased. They do not wish to see you blasting people with a shotgun. They ask you to leave.
Once upon a time in America, killing people was considered offensive. Mr. Cleaver is justly concerned about you, because you lack this most basic feature of human morality. “First person shooter” describes a game? Really? A whole genre?
Today we have violent games and violent movies. They compete to have the most realistic bloodshed, blood spray, spatter, gore, and the merry clatter of brass cartridges raining onto the deck. It is murder made pornography, and children play these games.
Children play these games, and children watch these movies. What do you see in the trailer for an action movie? Sneering, trash-talk, and threats – backed up by unending gunfire. If the weapons aren’t full-auto, we’re staying home.
We have created a culture that glorifies might-as-right, brutality, contempt, and disrespect. We have popular music about being a tough guy, smacking you down, and busting a cap in your ass.
We came to this vile place one step at a time. We developed an entertainment industry, and this industry found profit in pandering to our basest desires. At every turn, we claimed our freedom to indulge these desires, while the industry grew more profitable and more effective.
At each step, there should have been a parent – or a teacher, or a pastor – who said “no.” No, we will not watch the violent TV show. No, we will not listen to the violent music. Sit up straight. Show some respect. We will not buy the toys, watch the movies, or patronize their sponsors.
As our morality has declined, ironically, entertainment has become one of America’s most successful industries. Witnesses say they heard the gunfire, and thought it was part of the show. In a grim way, they were right.